Tuesday, September 1, 2015 - 14:15

The Eden Project is inviting brave fundraisers to spend a chilly winter’s night sleeping outdoors to support some of the thousands of people who experience homelessness in the UK every year.

Eden’s Sleep Out is taking place on Thursday November 19 and is one of a number of locations around the UK. This is the second year Eden has hosted a Sleep Out event.

Sleep Out is a nationwide event organised by the End Youth Homelessness (EYH) campaign, which is a national partnership of grassroots charities and companies that provides vital support to homeless young people across the UK. The aim of the national campaign is to raise more than £500,000 for homelessness charities.

Those who take part at Eden will bed down with a sleeping bag and a cardboard mat outside the Biomes. Participants will be asked to fundraise as much as possible. There is no required minimum target but most people are aiming for a target of around £100. When registering, fundraisers will have a choice of two charities to fundraise for:  St Petroc’s Society or EYH regional partner, the Amber Foundation.

The evening will feature live music, cookery workshops – where everyone taking part will have the chance to get involved in making something delicious to share and eat during the evening, and campfire tales. There will also be food, hot drinks and a licensed bar on offer.

Cornwall has one of the highest numbers of rough sleepers in the UK. Most are either from Cornwall or have lived and worked in the county for a significant time. Others travel to the county fleeing violence or in search of employment and a fresh start. For many, the county is simply the end of the line on the train.

A large majority of rough sleepers are young and male, many of whom have suffered a relationship breakdown or lost employment. Some may have drug, alcohol or mental health problems. Some are offenders, and an increasing number of former service personnel are being seen. Women account for approximately 20 per cent of rough sleepers. All homeless people are vulnerable.

Peter Stewart MVO, Executive Director of the Eden Project, said: “We are delighted to be hosting this event at Eden for a second year to support the wonderful work that these two charities do.  This is a great way to raise funds and have an enjoyable evening getting to know others who feel passionate about this worthwhile cause, while experiencing for one night what many, who find themselves homeless, go through every night.”

Corinna Langford, Community Manager at St Petroc’s Society said: “Homelessness is increasing year on year and it is important to remember that these statistics are about real people. No one should have to sleep outside and be without the safety and security of somewhere to call home. This is why an event such as this Sleep Out is a great opportunity to raise awareness, as well as much needed funds to support our work, and help some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

Paul Rosam, CEO of the Amber Foundation, said: “The Amber Foundation is thrilled to be teaming up with Eden and St Petroc’s for this night out in the cold that will help raise vital funds and awareness of the terrible plight of so many vulnerable young people in the UK.”

St Petroc’s Society exists to provide a diverse range of services for the single homeless, who, more often than not, fall outside the responsibility of statutory authorities. The Society provides accommodation, support, advice, training and resettlement services to single homeless people in Cornwall. Within resources available, they strive to provide the best quality of service possible. Their primary aim is to provide these services to people aged 16-65 years and for whom no provision is made within the community, either statutory or otherwise.

The Amber Foundation offers a supportive and nurturing environment where young people, whose lives have gone badly wrong, can recover their self-esteem and learn respect for others, as well as other important life skills. Amber helps their residents to think through what they wish to achieve, and provides practical help and advice on how to reach these goals. The very low re-offending rate amongst Amber’s former residents is just one sign of their success. Amber provides 24-hour care and support every day of the year and whilst the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, their programme is carefully structured and tailored to the individual.